Bosch Australia: Creating value through diversification

Bosch Australia: Creating value through diversification

Bosch Australia is setting a good example of driving value through diversification. With years of experience in vehicle technologies, the company has now entered the world of trailer safety and control.


Bosch Australia recently launched an innovative trailer safety system that combines “on trailer” Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and sway mitigation technology to improve safety of towing trailers, caravans and camper trailers.

The Trailer Safety Control system is the first in an expanding portfolio of systems to improve trailer usability and road safety for Australians and the global market. The product, first launched in late 2018 is under development and will be manufactured at Bosch’s Clayton facility.

Bosch has been a leader in automotive safety systems such as anti-lock braking and stability control for 40 years. The Trailer Safety Control system will be for fitment
to caravans and trailers equipped with electric brakes and towed by passenger vehicles.

The system shows how Bosch Australia is diversifying into new products and markets including the global caravan and trailer sector, building on 30 years of local automotive engineering expertise.

“Our extensive vehicle safety systems experience is carried over into the Trailer Safety Control system, making it a system you can rely on,” Mark Jackman, the head of Bosch Australia’s Vehicle Safety Division said.

“Despite the end of volume passenger car production in Australia over the past year, Bosch Australia’s 200-strong automotive engineering team is busier than ever,” said Gavin Smith, president of Bosch Australia, “Trailer Safety is a great example of how to apply existing capability to an adjacent and attractive niche with global potential.”

Trailers and caravans are a large market segment in Australia. But trailers can easily become unstable and cause accidents when braking, swerving, overtaking, driving in high winds or on difficult roads. In 2016, loss of control accounted for 30 per cent of caravan accident claims, with over-steering and fishtailing among the main causes.

Many people have experienced nervously following a trailer that has begun to sway and would appear that at any moment it could fishtail out of control. Worse still, is the feeling of a loss of control while negotiating the twists and gradient of the road with a trailer in tow. Both circumstances can be stressful, and for both driver and surrounding traffic, potentially very hazardous.

Bosch Australia appointed as global Centre of Competence for Trailer Safety

The Australian Vehicle Safety Systems engineering team identified the need for a solution to this problem. This prompted an innovation idea and subsequent R&D project in 2014.

The parent company acknowledged the local engineering capability and market opportunity, which led to the establishment of a Bosch global Centre of Competence for Trailer Safety in Australia by 2015.

Bosch Australia Trailer Safety Control
Testing of Bosch Trailer Safety Control at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC).

The launch of the first system, an active safety system, will aid accident prevention by incorporating ABS, sway mitigation and other value- adding functions, for new caravans
and trailers with electric brakes.

It has the potential to reduce the number of trailer related incidents by up to 45 per cent. Furthermore, the comfort of knowing that the system will automatically intervene when necessary at the first sign of instability or wheel lock, will help alleviate driver stress levels while towing.

Mounted to the trailer’s chassis, the system comprises an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with integrated motion sensor, and wheel speed sensors. These sensors determine the movement of the trailer and the speed of each individual wheel, respectively. The brain of the system, the ECU, will be manufactured at Bosch’s production facility in Clayton.

DexKo Global provides its expertise

With the support of DexKo, a global supplier of highly engineered trailer running gear, chassis assemblies, related components and the parent company of both Dexter and AL-KO VT, Bosch is in the final stages of development, readying the TSC system for sale.

The system will be offered initially in Australia and the US. In these two markets alone, there are approximately 1 million new trailer registrations annually (including caravans), and 12 million registered trailers.